JACKSON HOLE, Wyo., Feb. 3, 2018 — Wind swept across Rendezvous Bowl and delivered a barrage of chilling cold and stinging snow crystals to my cheeks and the back of my neck. Corbet’s Couloir—perhaps the most famous inbounds ski run in North America—fell away precipitously beneath the tips of my skis. I was undecided about skiing the chute.
I asked for Friday off from work in anticipation of what I hoped would be an epic bluebird powder day. On Thursday, I kept track of which areas at Snowbird remained closed during the storm because those areas would likely have the best snow conditions on Friday.
I arrived at Snowbird early enough to catch the first (public) tram to the top of Hidden Peak. Mineral Basin didn’t open yesterday, so I figured its south- and southeast-facing runs would be loaded with powder snow because of the storm’s strong west-northwest winds.
I was right. The 19 inches of fresh powder on White Diamonds was some of the deepest I’ve ever skied.
To make it easier to do work on my ski boots, I needed to build a ski boot spreader board. A boot spreader board provides solutions for a couple problems:
- The ski binding attached to the board secures the boot in place while doing work.
- The board provides a way to hold open the boot flaps, which is useful for checking fit and getting equipment in place before executing shell stretches.
A boot spreader board is not always necessary when doing work on your ski boots, but it is nice to have available, and it is easy to build one at home. Here’s how I built and use my boot spreader board:
I took the day off work to go skiing at Snowbird. My goals for today were to ski the Upper Cirque and to film the view from atop some of the Upper Cirque chutes. I succeeded on both accounts, but I didn’t ski my run very well. The conditions weren’t great, and it had been a long time since I last skied anything that challenging, but I figured I could put it all together for one run. I did not, but that’s OK. I also accidentally passed the chute I had planned to ski. It’s one of my favorites, so I cut back across the next chute to get to it, which didn’t make for great footage, but I wanted to ski that chute because it was more familiar.
I highly recommend the following books, especially if you ski in Utah. The Powder Hound’s guides are comprehensive and will open Alta and Snowbird to you for thorough exploration. The Chuting Gallery will make you want to go out and bootpack up some chute for turns, even if such a pursuit may ultimately prove both dangerous and beyond your appetite for risk-taking. Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain will help you understand avalanches so that you can make better decisions when exploring the backcountry. Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth will help you understand how Mother Nature fills the hills with all that snow.
The Powder Hound’s Guide to Snowbird
by Brad Asmus
The Powder Hound’s Guide to Skiing Alta
by Brad Asmus
The Chuting Gallery
by Andrew McLean
Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain
by Bruce Tremper
Today was a short groomer day at Alta. I also experimented with my GoPro camera setup. I think I now have a setup that works. It provides a good point-of-view camera angle with minimal shaking. Now I just need to start skiing some more interesting terrain.
With that said, the following GoPro footage only features some easy terrain off the Sunnyside lift. The skiing footage isn’t too exciting, but it was a beautiful day. Enjoy!